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Opinion Editorials

Behold the Mega-Blog

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agent genius logoIt’s a credit to Benn that contributors here have free rein in terms of what they wish to discuss. That, of course, is a way of kissing up ahead of the larger point of this post.

I just don’t get it, folks. I don’t get the fascination and/or growth of the mega-blogs and I’m a contributor to one of them.

Last time I checked, the Bloodhound had 3,746 active contributors give or take a couple. Agent Genius similarly has grown. Ironically, Rain City Guide has remained somewhat stable over the last several months.

It’s not that I see anything wrong with such expansion – especially seeing as I was part of it. But I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand it. Perhaps contributing here will drive some traffic back to my blog – I’ve not seen it, but so be it. (I also see limited numbers coming from Bloodhound on the rare moments I make the final list for the Odysseus medal.)

I have determined this is my place to rant (aside from today’s questioning of NAR after reading Benn’s earlier post) and my home blog is more sedate, though not strictly local in any way, shape or form. So in that the dual blogs serve a purpose.

But still … what’s the point? If you have a very successful blog of your own, why jump into the conglomerate blogs (barring the need to vent or write with a different voice)? You probably don’t need more readers and you likely will not gain business being one of a dozen (or two or three.) You’re not promoting your own branding (theme one of e-Pro, which, naturally, is violated by the RealTown blogging platform. But that’s another story.)

Greg has said in the past that real estate will not be his last career. Watching the path the Bloodhound has taken, that next career seems to be coming on more quickly than may have been anticipated. Add a cadre of quality writers under one umbrella. Brand the blog. Then sell the secrets to success … wait, the seminar’s free. Still …

Maybe this is the wave of the future. Then again, a year ago I thought Active Rain was the wave of the future only to discover it was wobbling on its water skies passing over a tank holding a tiger shark.

And maybe that’s why I stay. Because I may not be as smart as I think. Might be worth hedging my bets and sticking around on the larger blog just in case.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I just came becasue you are here and becasue Lani promised me a unicorn. I have not gotten the unicorn but I never give up.

  2. Jeff Turner

    November 21, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Jonathon… here’s where I think the problem lies right now. It’s easy to conclude that all of these different RE.net blogs are like different parties, with different guests. Our hope is that if we go to all of them, we’ll meet new and different people, and expand our network and influence. But for the most part, that’s not true. This is really just one party, and not a particularly large one at that. When we move from one blog to the next, we’re not actually moving from one party to another, we’re just moving to a different conversation at the same party.

    But I have a feeling you know this already. 🙂

  3. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Jeff is dead on. RE.net is a social network of it’s own. Far more viable than any group on Facebook. In many ways, it’s a free form model of Active Rain.

    The problem with only posting on your one, personal blog is that not everything you may want to say will be of value to your real clients. I maintain two separate blogs for this reason. Lenderama is my business blog, Blog Fiesta is my social networking blog.

  4. Rick Marnon

    November 21, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    I used active rain for about a day and a half, and then I realized that it is just a bunch of agents writing on one anothers blogs. They do not help you to get better seo rankings, so what purpose do they serve?

  5. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Todd – I have more than one blog for the same reason. Most of my readers don’t know they are reading a blog, they are looking for information and I need to make sure it is there.

  6. Jonathan Dalton

    November 21, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    Excellent points …

    I’m not that bright. That’s the heart of it all. So sometimes the WIIFM doesn’t jump out at me. A lot of my thoughts are directed at my own ignorance. (No sarcasm here.)

    Agent Genius has been great as a secondary voice. I haven’t ranted (much) on the regular blog since. I’m also not someone who’s ever worried about “voice.” My voice is my voice and I don’t necessarily have one for the public and one for the rest. If I can put together one coherent thought I’m pretty happy.

    This is a great collection of folks and I’m damn glad to be here … even if Teresa doesn’t end up with her unicorn.

  7. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    >”I just came because you are here and becasue Lani promised me a unicorn”

    Here you go T

    https://photo.mariah.com/teresasunicorn.jpg

  8. Jonathan Dalton

    November 21, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    That is so wrong on so many levels …

  9. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Todd just made me cry

  10. Benn Rosales

    November 21, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    Phallic comes to mind.

  11. Todd Carpenter

    November 21, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    It’s a weinercorn you sickos. :p

  12. Teresa Boardman

    November 21, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    This is for Todd: https://tinyurl.com/2mdp6o
    My apology to Jonathan and to Tobey for highjacking this post.

  13. Tim

    November 21, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    Keep in mind that on the RealTownBlogs platform, you CAN 301 to a branded domain with a custom template– no violation there.

  14. Mariana

    November 21, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    I like this platform because I respect ALL of the people here, and I can post what I cannot post on my own blog. I love Jeff’s analogy about the party. Makes a lot of sense.

  15. Chris Johnson

    November 22, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I’ve started contributing to blownmortgage.com, which is gonna be a mega blog. I’ve gotten traffic back to me, and in a week had a conversion. My website looks like crap currently (ah, the law of diminishing returns). But, people clicked because of the idea–I do conventional mortgages in 10 (calendar) days 100% of the time. One idea, easy to get.

    I’d think the more groovy and specific your niche the more likely people will click, and the more likely people will convert. I don’t know what a valid niche is; if I were a realtor, I’d probably blog all over the country to create a referral network and market myself as the guy that knows all the tech Savvy Realtor, and then offer 10-15% referral fees.

    Or something. Anyway, I like RE net blogs because the humanity and authenticity of the people is pretty high; there are people that admit it’s disingenuous for the NAR to be telling people that “now is a great time to buy…”

  16. Athol Kay

    November 23, 2007 at 10:28 pm

    I have next to no clue about any of it either.

  17. Teri Lussier

    November 25, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    1) What Jeff said
    2) Parties are fun (Jeff left that part out).
    3) I find that on my blog it’s like home: Shoes off, feet up, in my jammies; whereas on another blog I’m a guest. I try to be on my best behavior, elevate the conversation (okay not always successfully, I know!), and contribute in a different way. I can’t explain it other than jammies and bare feet compared to party clothes and heels- two looks, same person, and it’s not just another voice, it’s another place.
    4) There is a synergy that happens in a group blog. It’s real and it’s an important part of a conversation. The blog takes on life of it’s own…
    OTOH, Maybe none of this makes sense… 😀

  18. Kelley Koehler

    November 26, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    See? This is why we need a comment feed. I missed out on weinercorngate.

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Business Finance

How to survive a recession in the modern economy

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Advice about surviving a recession is common these days, but its intended audience can leave a large gap in application.

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recession squeeze

There’s no question of whether or not we’re in a recession right now, and while some may debate the severity of this recession in comparison to the last major one, there are undoubtedly some parallels–something Next Avenue’s Elizabeth White highlights in her advice on planning for the next few months (or years).

Among White’s musings are actionable strategies that involve forecasting for future layoffs, anticipating age discrimination, and swallowing one’s ego in regards to labor worth and government benefits like unemployment.

White isn’t wrong. It’s exceptionally important to plan for the future as much as possible–even when that plan undergoes major paradigm shifts a few times a week, at best–and if you can reduce your spending at all, that’s a pretty major part of your planning that doesn’t necessarily have to be subjected to those weekly changes.

However, White also approaches the issue of a recession from an angle that assumes a few things about the audience–that they’re middle-aged, relatively established in their occupation, and about to be unemployed for years at a time. These are, of course, completely reasonable assumptions to make…but they don’t apply to a pretty large subset of the current workforce.

We’d like to look at a different angle, one from which everything is a gig, unemployment benefits aren’t guaranteed, and long-term savings are a laughable concept at best.

White’s advice vis-a-vis spending is spot-on–cancelling literally everything you can to avoid recurring charges, pausing all non-essential memberships (yes, that includes Netflix), and downgrading your phone plan–it’s something that transcends generational boundaries.

In fact, it’s even more important for this generation than White’s because of how frail our savings accounts really are. This means that some of White’s advice–i.e., plan for being unemployed for years–isn’t really feasible for a lot of us.

It means that taking literally any job, benefit, handout, or circumstantial support that we can find is mandatory, regardless of setbacks. It means that White’s point of “getting off the throne” isn’t extreme enough–the throne needs to be abolished entirely, and survival mode needs to be implemented immediately.

We’re not a generation that’s flying all over the place for work, investing in real estate because it’s there, and taking an appropriate amount of paid time off because we can; we’re a generation of scrappy, gig economy-based, paycheck-to-paycheck-living, student debt-encumbered individuals who were, are, and will continue to be woefully unprepared for the parameters of a post-COVID world.

If you’re preparing to be unemployed, you’re recently unemployed, or you even think you might undergo unemployment at some point in your life, start scrapping your expenses and adopt as many healthy habits as possible. Anything goes.

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Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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decluttering

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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